Test Documents

How do I understand Heavy Metals?

Our heavy metal analyses are conducted using ICP-MS, which gives us a measure of parts per million (ppm) of heavy metal atoms like Mercury, Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium in a powder sample.


But how do we interpret these results, what does it matter if a powder has <1ppm Mercury? Doesn’t it still have toxic Mercury?


Well, yes, but so does the ocean and your Tuna fish and even tap drinking water. So how do we make sense of this?


Let’s compare to the standards for tap drinking water:






The chart above is the USA EPA’s heavy metal limits for tap water in mg/L. That’s not ppm, which is what we want to compare to our lab reports but according to the EPA mg/L can be treated as a rough proxy for ppm in water.





We can do arithmetic and convert it if necessary but based on that approximation you can see metals are ubiquitous and the levels in our products are less than what’s found in a glass of water. In addition to that our products are used in much smaller quantities than tap water.


Generally, for materials that are used less frequently, like Calcium Carbonate, a common food additive, the standards are higher, e.g. 60x higher than drinking water:




To conclude, we can say if our products have ≤ 5 ppm of heavy metal and the product is used in the milligram range, it is safe. You would absorb more heavy metals when you take a shower.

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